Manika Batra became the first Table Tennis player to be honoured with the ‘breakthrough Table Tennis Star’ award at the prestigious International Table Tennis Federation Star Awards in Incheon late on Wednesday.
“I am really honoured and happy to have received the award. I feel, 2018 has been the best year of my career so far and I am happy for what I have achieved,” Manika was quoted as saying by news agency PTI at the ceremony.
“I would like to thank the Government, the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) and most importantly, my family, who has been there for me and motivated me along this journey,” she added.
After breaking through in 2016, Manika really came into her own this year becoming the first Indian woman to win an individual Commonwealth Games gold by defeating Yu Mengyu of Singapore in the women’s singles event. She also guided India to its first-ever gold medal in the Women’s Team category where they beat four-time gold medallist and reigning champions Singapore 3-1.
The 23-year-old also claimed a silver in the women’s doubles category and another bronze in the mixed doubles event of the Gold Coast CWG.
“This year has been great for Indian Table Tennis and this award for Manika perfectly caps it well for the sport. We are proud of Manika and all the others,” said TTFI General Secretary MP Singh congratulating Batra on her achievement.
Later in the year, Manika partnered veteran Sharath Kamal to clinch the bronze in the mixed doubles category at the Jakarta Asian Games in Indonesia.
An Arjuna Award winner, Manika is also India’s highest ranked female Table Tennis player. She achieved her career-best ranking of 52 on the back of some fabulous performances.